tee :: j.bella (here) // button up tunic :: casting call via the urban hare // jeans :: 7 for all mankind (similar) // booties :: carlos santana (here) // purse :: rebecca minkoff (similar) // necklace :: slate // bracelet :: loren hope (here) // watch :: walmart // cuff :: jenny bird // earrings :: kendra scott (here) // sunglasses :: juicy couture
shirt, pants :: little lass // sneakers :: healthtex (similar) // panda purse :: grocery store (backpack version)
This post was inspired by Essena O’Neill’s recent (and epic) exit from social media (read about it here and here), and by this post on Gary Pepper. They’re good ones, so be sure to give them a read.
Welcome to the new and improved Mommy & Kumquat.I've been reading fashion blogs almost since their inception (since Liz of Late Afternoon was wearing Forever 21 in every post), and I've watched the rise of the "big bloggers” (and the fall of some). I have to admit that I've occasionally fallen prey to the "Highlight Reel Hypothesis" (comparing our real lives to the highlight reels of others posted on social media), and because of this, I have a very "on again/off again" relationship with my blog and the blogging world in general. Sometimes, seeing others achieve their dreams while I have failed has been incredibly demoralizing.
But, as I approach my 30th birthday, I've been thinking about the last decade or so, and specifically about how my style has evolved. I've realized that many of the most prominent changes have been influenced by others - not as a true expression of myself. Some have been for the better; some, not so much. Most of those changes correspond with major turning points in other areas of my life (again, some for the better, and others for the worse). Looking back, I can trace the evolution of my "self" through different phases of style, and most of those metamorphoses were at the behest of another person - someone I wanted to impress, but whose role in my life turned out to be largely temporary.
At this point in my life, though, I find myself “on my own” for the very first time in a very, very long while - not just in terms of romance, but lacking any sort of real social network. I have my family, of course (and one amazing friend who understands my antisocialism and forgives it), but now that I have my own daughter, I find myself the de facto leader of our little twosome, and it’s incited a very personal, very deep exploration of who I really am and what I really want out of life. I find myself making choices I never would have before - everything from what clothes and lipstick I put on in the morning (things that, in the past, would have been carefully chosen to impress a specific person) to those Major Life Decisions, including career and money. I’m legitimately in charge of myself for what might be the first time in my entire life.
And it’s not scary - it’s liberating.
Okay, yes it’s scary. It’s scary as all hell, because it’s not just me I’m making these decisions for - it’s my daughter, and her life too, which means that I can’t pick up and take off the way part of me would like to. It wouldn’t be fair to rip her away from the grandparents she adores, the cousins she’s so deeply attached to, or the father she loves. My childhood wasn’t perfect, but I’ve always had my family, and that’s something I want her to grow up with too.
So that means pursuing my dreams here. Developing new ones, if that’s what it takes. Building a life for the two of us that starts with a single brick. It means being brave, making those hard decisions for myself and for her, and learning the real meaning of the word “hustle”. It means proving to Kumquat that, as women, we are capable of anything we put our minds to.
Mostly, it means kicking some serious ass.
So, instead of shutting down Mommy & Kumquat and hanging out the “gone fishing” sign, as I nearly did, I’ve decided to revamp and relaunch with a new theme in mind: to #bebrave. Instead of letting the success of others discourage me, I'll use it as motivation for my own goals. Moving forward, we’ll feature more than just outfit of the day posts - you’ll still see fashion and style, but it will be mixed in with dating, parenting, travel and plenty of kid stuff. We’ll explore life as a mommy-daughter duo, and we’ll share it all with you - the good, the funny, the sad, the terrible and the embarrassing. We’ll invite you in and give you the full tour, including the hall closet where we stash the clutter when company comes to visit.
(And I say “we” because, when she’s old enough, (I hope) Kumquat will contribute as well. Writing and communicating are some of the most important real life skills we can teach our kids, and blogging together is a fun, creative way to do that while spending quality time and learning a variety of other useful skills.)
To celebrate the relaunch of Mommy & Kumquat (because what's a party without party favors?), we’re giving away a fun prize pack that includes a Samsung bluetooth selfie stick, a Kate Spade notebook (in print of your choice from B&N) and a gorgeous statement necklace from Freckles & Co - basically, everything you need to start your own style blog (or, just take some really awesome selfies and some really great notes). Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below; giveaway closes on December 15th at midnight, and the winner will be announced by December 17th.
As part of our new beginning, I’ve launched an Etsy-based design studio, packed full of some awesome templates AND custom design options, including media kits, resumes, business cards, holiday cards, website/blog graphics and more. Check back later this week for the official M&K Design Studio digital launch party, as well as a code for a *free* template or printable. I’ll also be sharing some pretty intimate stuff over the next few weeks, including what drove me to take up fashion as an obsession and my journey from “not to hot”, so stay tuned :)
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